23 Albums Okayplayer Can’t Wait to Hear in 2023

Miki Hellerbach Miki Hellerbach is a freelance music and culture journalist from…
Kelela new albums
Photo Credit: Justin French

There are a gang of highly anticipated new albums that we will rush to consume. Here are 23 projects we can’t wait to hear in 2023.

Twenty twenty-two felt like a new music avalanche. No matter how much you tried to keep up with new releases, they just kept coming. Twenty twenty-three is showing zero signs of slowing down. There are already a plethora of releases lined up by big names and indie darlings alike. 

There are a gang of highly anticipated projects (confirmed or hinted at) for this year that, upon release, we will rush to consume. There is nothing that quite stops time like one of our favorite artists fulfilling our aural cravings. Here is a list of 23 projects to be potentially released in 2023 that we hope will do just that.

J. Cole 

Photo Credit: Josh Brasted/FilmMagic

Title: It’s A Boy
Release Date: n/a
Lead Single: n/a

On January 3, 2023 J. Cole cleared his Instagram. Every hip-hop website published a news piece in anticipation of what could be a new project on the horizon. It would be only right to assume the project is the next on his written list he revealed at the end of 2020 and is entitled It’s A Boy. Cole revealed via a 2014 Forest Hills Drive album track that “January 28th” is his birthday. Thus, it would make sense that an album with that title could drop on that day in a few weeks. Cole went on a mini feature run in 2022, much like he did in 2019. It felt like he was building momentum. Will we get the resurgence of no feature conceptual Cole or even more flex bars Cole? Either way we will be listening. 

Oddisee 

Photo Credit: Artist

Title: To What End 
Release Date: January 20, 2023
Lead Singles: “Ghetto To Meadow” feat. Freeway, “Hard To Tell,” & “Try Again”

Maryland bred MC and producer Oddisee took a three year hiatus between albums. He has been on tour with his Good Company band ever since it was OK to go outside again. Based on what we’ve heard so far, the project will blend live production with electronic and lean more introspective. On the standout of the three lead singles, “Hard To Tell,” Oddisee raps, “I needed to split not only from people but also the ego, I started to trip into the abyss the ultimate evil,” ruminating through a cyclical sounding flow over sharp string patterns. With features from Bilal, Freeway, Phonte, and more, it seems Oddisee is reaching for all he has to offer while hoping to not lose sight of what’s truly important.

Kelela

Photo Credit: Daniele Venturelli/Getty Images for Salvatore Ferragamo

Title: Raven
Release Date: February 10, 2023
Lead Singles: “Washed Away,” “Happy Ending,” “On The Run”

With her head peeking through open water on her forthcoming album’s cover, Kelela has already begun to bring us into the ocean of her musical mind. The three lead singles sound like the peace garnered from floating with your face to the sun with no sense of time. It’s been impossible not to anticipate her return since she released the epic 2017 album Take Me Apart. Now as she seems to be channeling healing into what she describes as a “deep dive into facets of dance music that have always excited me,” we can’t wait to hear the full progression.

Beyoncé 

Photo Credit: Getty

Title(s): Act II & Act III
Release Date(s): n/a
Lead Single: n/a

On November 17, 2022, New York Times journalist Kyle Buchanan shook up Twitter. He claimed that there are two more acts to Beyoncé’s Renaissance: one to be an acoustic album (Act II) and one to be a second collaborative album with JAY-Z (Act III). For the record, NONE OF THIS IS CONFIRMED. But if it has any truth and they both were released in 2023 that sure would be something. Until then we will all keep up hope that some Renaissance visuals will emerge.

A$AP Rocky

Photo Credit: Jerritt Clark/Getty Images for Amazon Music

Title: Don’t Be Dumb
Release Date: TBA
Lead Singles: “D.M.B” & “Shittin Me” 

On Thursday Night Football on Amazon Prime, of all places, the Harlem rapper officially announced his new album titled Don’t Be Dumb was “finished” and on the way. If anything is true about  is that he knows how to put together a visual. The two leading up to this project are excellent and if the new album means more of them we are all eyes and ears. 

Travis Scott

Photo Credit: Alexander Tamargo/Getty Images for E11EVEN

Title: Utopia
Release Date: TBA
Lead Singles: “Escape Plan” & “Mafia” (maybe still singles)

The tragedy of Astroworld festival in November of 2021 necessarily halted any forward movement on Travis Scott’s fourth solo studio album. As he has slowly made his return to performing, there have been a few intriguing teasers for the project. During his Road To Utopia Vegas residency he previewed new songs featuring Future, Lil Uzi Vert, Kid Cudi, and Pharrell. But the most interesting was during his headlining set at Chile’s Primavera Sound festival. He shouted out the singer Björk in attendance for being one of his biggest influences. In 2017 she also released an album titled ‘Utopia.’ Pressing play on a collab between those two would be wild.

Paramore 

Photo Credit: Douglas Mason/Getty Images

Title: This Is Why
Release Date: February 10, 2023
Lead Singles: “This Is Why” & “The News”

In recent years it feels like no singer or band has been more praised for their influence than Hayley Williams and Paramore. From Olivia Rodrigo to Willow to Pinkpantheress a new pop punk re-emergence seems spearheaded by an obsession with the band’s 2007 album Riot! Paramore is officially back with their first album in six years. We are all gleefully waiting to hear if they will lean into how their sound has progressed or take a left turn into a new lane. 

Gorillaz 

Photo Credit: Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

Title: Cracker Island
Release Date: February 24, 2023
Lead Singles: “Cracker Island” feat. Thundercat, “New Gold” feat. Tame Impala & Bootie Brown, “Baby Queen,” & “Skinny Ape”

Sliding back from a collage of supposed to be standalone collaborative singles to a proper album is what the Damon Albarn led musical cartoon monkeys have in store for 2023. Having Stevie Nicks, Thundercat, and Bad Bunny on the same album is almost normalized for the group and a specifically mystical sound from the singles thus far makes it a project that will be intriguing to take in.

NxWorries

NxWorries against a lavender backdrop.

Source: Stones Throw Records

Title: n/a
Release Date: TBD
Lead Single: “Where I Go” feat. H.E.R.

Last January, Anderson .Paak went to Instagram and revealed that NxWorries — his collaborative group with super producer Knxwledge — was in “album mode.” Then… nothing — until October when the duo released “Where I Go,” one of the best songs of 2022. We expect to hear a full fledged album, their first in seven years, soon. 

Wesley Joseph

Photo Credit: Lorne Thomson/Redferns

Title: Glow
Release Date: February 17, 2023
Lead Singles: “Monsoon” & “Cold Summer”

Wesley Joseph’s 2021 project, Ultramarine, was one of the more sonically intriguing of that year. His blend of ethereal, melancholy, and guttural potency continues to perk ears up. The tone of the two lead singles seems more philosophical and direct than previous drops which feels like set up for quite the eight track cinematic experience. 

Lil Uzi Vert 

Photo Credit: Astrida Valigorsky/Getty Images

Title: The Pink Tape
Release Date: February 2023
Lead Single: “Just Wanna Rock”

On Reddit, of all places, Uzi just confirmed their new project The Pink Tape is dropping in February. It’s impossible to not hope for more club songs after hearing a single like “Just Wanna Rock,” but one would assume the styles will be a range judging from many prior Uzi albums. 

Noname

noname new albums

Photo Credit: Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images

Title: n/a
Release Date: n/a
Lead Single: “Rainforest”

Chicago MC Noname has been focusing on other things more than music the past couple years and more power to her. She officially called off her previously announced album, Factory Baby, at the beginning of last year and just recently claimed that she “has no new products so stop asking” on Twitter. However, she did in a later Tweet confirm she has plenty of unreleased material, but won’t just quickly package it up to satisfy anyone else. All we can hope that she knows is that if she ever did feel like it was the right time to drop in 2023, we’d be waiting with open arms and ears.  

Braxton Cook 

Photo Credit: Derek White/Getty Images

Title: Who Are You When No One Is Watching?
Release Date: February 24th, 2023
Lead Single: “90s” feat. Masego

Juilliard bred singer-saxophonist Braxton Cook hasn’t dropped an album since his acclaimed 2020 project Fire Sign. In the meantime, however, he has kept incredibly busy most recently producing with Jahaan Sweet for people like Taylor Swift and Giveon. His single leading up to his upcoming album with Masego evokes equal parts nostalgia and forward pushing sonic sequences that make you want to groove. 

Playboi Carti

Photo Credit: Jason Koerner/Getty Images

Title: Music
Release Date: TBA
Lead Single: n/a

“Love all my supporters it’s time,” Playboi Carti cryptically Tweeted on Christmas day of 2022. There is no project more anticipated in music than the artist’s Whole Lotta Red follow up. The album spawned what felt like a new musical direction. The rage beat/hyperpop fanatics are fiending and Carti already confirmed a working title earlier in the year to XXL. The direction of the music is a mystery, but Carti did say he hopes it will help to “bring peace to the world.”  

The Roots

the roots new albums

Photo Credit: Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic for Clusterfest

Title: TBA
Release Date: TBA
Lead Single: n/a

After what Questlove confirmed to be a slight pushback from his Summer of Soul extended rollout, it appears a new The Roots album is on the way. It’s been a whole six years in the making since the last album. If Black Thought’s Danger Mouse assisted project Cheat Codes is any indication of where his pen is, we could in for a real vibe shaker. Their collaboration with Erykah Badu and Tierra Whack is a good start.

Pinkpantheress 

new albums

Photo Credit: Matt Jelonek/WireImage

Title: TBA
Release Date: Early 2023
Lead Single: n/a

In an interview with Pitchfork, Pinkpantheress said about her official debut studio album to be released in 2023, “There’s more on the line, there’s more pressure, people expect a certain standard.” Since then, she released a three track EP entitled Take me home, featuring a particularly excellent song produced by one of her influences Kaytranada. The project shows that she seems to be moving in a direction that maintains the style that brought her acclaim, but also expands to even cleaner earworm hook melodies. 

 Mac Ayres 

mac ayers new albums

Photo Credit: Artist

Title: Comfortable Enough
Release Date: Early 2023
Lead Single: TBA

The R&B arrangement and falsetto craftsman had one of the most underrated projects of 2021 in Magic 8Ball. We have been eagerly awaiting his next drop since. All the information we’ve gotten from Mac is that the project will be a bit sad and he apologizes. But ranging melancholy melodies from the crooner could be just what the doctor ordered.  

Rihanna

rihanna new albums

Photo Credit: Johnny Nunez/WireImage

Title: TBA (Potentially R9)
Release Date: TBA
Lead Single: TBA

Riri at the Super Bowl Halftime Show is happening. There is an album on the way— this she has said many times. Everything else is hearsay. The album has gone from being confirmed to be reggae inspired to being a totally new and unexpected sound all together. What we have received from the Bajan singer is two songs from the recent Wakanda Forever soundtrack. Both songs are emotional ballads closest to the vibe of songs like “Unfaithful” and “Close To You.” There is more buzz around this project than any other project in the music realm and one thing is for sure, it will not be undercooked. 

Cardi B

cardi b new albums

Photo Credit: Jason Koerner via Getty

Title: (TBA)
Release Date: Sometime in 2023
Lead Singles: “Money,” “Up,” “WAP” feat. Megan Thee Stallion, “Hot Shit” feat. Kanye West & Lil Durk

Four official singles and five years since her Grammy winning debut it would appear that Cardi B sees her new album on the horizon. While she still thinks the heavily anticipated body of work is “missing something” she did also recently confirm she was aiming for a 2023 release. Cardi’s features in 2022 were impeccable. She had a verse of the year contender on Glorilla’s “Tomorrow 2” and an underrated bar barrage on the Kay Flock Bronx drill cut “Shake It.” If the braggadocious and potent delivery stretches out across a full album none of us would be mad about it.  

KAYTRANADA 

new albums

Photo Credit: Matt Jelonek/WireImage

Title: TBA
Release Date: TBA
Lead Single: “Twin Flame” w/ Anderson .Paak

Kaytranada and dance music are synonymous, yet he made his mark in 2022 as the lead producer on rap and R&B projects. He produced all of IDK’s Simple and he led the way on Joyce Wrice’s Motive EP. It would appear potentially that his anticipated follow up to 2019’s BUBBA would be going more in this direction and he confirmed to Apple Music’s Zane Lowe that it originally wasn’t dance music centered. He also went on to reveal that he was considering rearranging the project due to inspiration from the big mainstream dance releases of 2022

Frank Ocean

frank ocean new albums

Photo Credit: Sean Zanni/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images

Title: TBA
Release Date: TBA
Lead Single: TBA

Blonde was seven years ago now. One thing’s for certain, its longevity in people’s consciousness is an enigma in today’s musical landscape. Frank Ocean has revealed absolutely nothing about what his new music will be like. The rumor mill is everlasting and rumblings of those who have potentially worked on a new album are heard about far and wide. But at this point it’s an “I’ll believe it when I hear it” type deal. 

Doja Cat

doja cat new albums

Photo Credit: Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for CELINE

Title: TBA
Release Date: TBA
Lead Single: TBA

Doja Cat’s breadcrumbs of info regarding her upcoming album have been hilarious and difficult to decipher. She could be lying about all of them. Most recently she cited two influences on the new sound: early ’90s electronic artist Opus III and the rap group The Beastie Boys. Earlier last year she said in an interview she was doing a ’90s German Rave-inspired album. However, she then said she was pranking the publication on Twitter and proceeded to say she was doing an R&B album, an experimental jazz album, and then just posted this. Whatever the hell it is, and however many jokes it takes to get to the truth, we will be listening.

 

Tems

tems new albums

Photo Credit: Manny Carabel/Getty Images

Title: TBA
Release Date: Sometime in 2023
Lead Single: TBA

We were supposed to get an album from arguably the world’s most captivating voice in 2022, but it didn’t work out that way. Tems did a cover of Bob Marely’s “No Woman No Cry” on the Wakanda Forever soundtrack, featured some vocals on Beyoncé’s album, and was sampled for a smash hit Future and Drake song last year all of which grabbed our ears, but still no album. Luckily, she recently replied to a fan on Twitter confirming the album is set for this year.  

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Miki Hellerbach is a freelance music and culture journalist from Baltimore, whose work can also be found on CentralSauce, Euphoria Magazine, Notion Magazine, GUAP Magazine, and Complex. He also regularly co-hosts the In Search of Sauce music journalism podcast highlighting the top tier work of other writers.

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